Drug Policy Implications of the 2020 Elections

By Drug Enforcement and Policy Center Staff  |  Autumn 2020

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The 2020 election will have a monumental impact on how the United States addresses a broad range of policy issues, and drug enforcement and policy is no exception. Numerous states approved medical or full marijuana legalization via ballot initiative, and voters in other states weighed in on drug-related criminal justice ballot initiatives. At the federal level, marijuana reform has been gaining momentum and federal officials will undoubtedly take cues from the nationwide election results to determine the pace of reform on an array of drug enforcement and policy issues.

Our panel of experts discussed the 2020 election results and what they are likely to mean for drug enforcement and policy at both the state and federal level.

A recording of the virtual event is available to view on the DEPC Facebook page. You can also find a transcript below.

Drug Policy Implications of the 2020 Elections

Recorded November 16, 2020

John Hudak, deputy director of the Center for Effective Public Management and a senior fellow in Governance Studies, Brookings Institution
Maritza Perez, director of the Office of National Affairs, Drug Policy Alliance
Tamar Todd, legal director, New Approach PAC
Douglas A. Berman, executive director, Drug Enforcement and Policy Center



About the Speakers

Photograph of John Hudak

John Hudak

John Hudak is deputy director of the Center for Effective Public Management and a senior fellow in Governance Studies at the Brookings Institution. John’s 2016 book, Marijuana: A Short History, offers a unique, up-to-date profile of how cannabis emerged from the shadows of counterculture and illegality to become a serious, even mainstream, public policy issue and source of legal revenue for both businesses and governments. In it, he describes why attitudes and policy have changed, and what those changes mean for marijuana’s future place in society.

Photograph of Maritz Perez

Maritza Perez

Maritza Perez is the director of the Office of National Affairs at the Drug Policy Alliance in Washington, DC where she leads the organization’s federal legislative agenda and strategy. Previously, Maritza was a senior policy analyst for Criminal Justice Reform at the Center for American Progress (CAP) where her portfolio included marijuana policy, policing, and prison and sentencing reform. Prior to joining CAP, Maritza was a legislative staff attorney at the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF).

Photograph of Tamar Todd

Tamar Todd

Tamar Todd legal director at New Approach PAC and is an experienced attorney with expertise in policy advocacy, legislative drafting, statewide political campaign strategy, regulatory implementation, and non-profit management in the areas of drug law reform, cannabis law and policy, public health, and criminal justice. Previously, she held multiple positions at Drug Policy Alliance including legal director and director of marijuana law and policy. She has a particular expertise in marijuana decriminalization, legalization, and regulation, and she co-authored several state and local ballot initiatives and statutes.